HOST: Michael Whitworth
SPONSOR: Logos Bible Software
Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders, and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.) And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “ ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban” ’ (that is, given to God)— then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
As creatures of habit, we like traditions. They are comfortable, familiar, and easy. They have a way of imbedding themselves in our thinking and practice and quickly become an indelible part of who we are and what we believe. In that mindset, “the way it’s always been” becomes the standard by which our decisions are made, and the line between tradition and doctrine is easily blurred. If we are not careful, those traditions come to identify us and become more precious and binding than even the doctrinal teachings of God’s word. This is the very sin the Jewish leaders were guilty of, and Jesus gives them, and us, a grave warning about the danger of this mentality. The truth of the matter is that there is nothing wrong with traditions. They provide roots for us and give us a pattern of order to follow, but traditions must never be more important to us than are the teachings of God’s word. They must never interfere with our carrying out of God’s will, and they must never form a basis for making doctrinal decisions. May God’s word always be our first and only guide and creed.
Why do you think traditions so easily become so important to us?
Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!